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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Saw Bill Frank over at Martinsburg this past wkend and he showed me
a 10 ft section of the plastic track... Its just the rail itself that
their making, it was slid into A-C tie-strips... Looked real good, a
chocolate brown in color, had a good shape to it, an very flexible too,
won't need a rail bender with this stuff, just roll whatever U need off
the spool and start sliding on tie-strips...hehe Besides the obvious
limitations of being only usable for battery RC, and maybe live steam,
the only serious reservation I had was the wear factor... How well will
it holdup under heavy usage, and, or heavy engines ??? On the otherhand it
ought to be a lot cheaper than metal track these days, so it could be
replaced periodically... I had a couple other minor concerns also, what
is the friction co-efficient between metal drivers and plastic track,
especially after it has worn smooth & shiny ??? And what about a really
big heavy engine like a USA BB, would axle loading be a problem, as it
can be in the proto-type world ??? I'd guess the battery car for something
like that might be pretty heavy too...hehe But given its shortcomings, it
certainly could be the answer to the outrageous track prices, at least for
a segment of the hobby...
Paul R...
 

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heck with some of the composites they have out there nowadays there shouldnt be a worry about strength. There are a few railroads that are swapping to plastic ties. I think this is a great idea. Its nice that someone has finally picked up the idea. The only downfall i see is for the guys modeling outside....there sure would be a lot of movement
 

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Well I had wonfered about plastic rail , they can do almost anything with plastic to serve in different uses , should work well for battery powered trains .
Thanks fore the info , any chance of some pictures of it in use ?
 

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Given the concerns about metal track prices I guess this will arouse many folks interest.

As a track powered operator I do see a possible use for this track, if it is found reliable and strong, and that is unpowered storage sidings - particularly those not in full view.
 

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Sounds very interesting.

But I'd be concerned with metal wheels picking up plastic residue. Sort of like what plastic wheels do on metal rails, just reversed.
 

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If it's UV resistant and is relatively stable over a short length, it could be good. Of course, a composite that would answer those needs might be just as, or nearly, as expensive as metal rail. I don't think it would shred or grain off much if it is designed to be used outdoors. As far as traction loss from railhead polishing is concerned; metal rail does the same thing, so that is a wash. ****, real rail gets pretty shiny too. Just go easy on start up like the prototypes do and it should be OK. It might be the wave of the future. Or it may be a flash in the pan. Who is going to be the Guinea Pig to try it out on their layout?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As far as I know the stuff is still in the testing & evaluation mode
at this time... Didn't have a camera with me at the time, so I didn't
get any pics of it...
Paul R...
 

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One of the fellows with the Mesa Grande layout owns a Plastics molding facility and was handing out samples of the extruded rail at HAGRS this year. The plastic is not UV protected, but he is working on that problem. He also had a section of track he was testing, inserted in the mainline of the layout. This section had a thin strip of copper glued to the top of the rail head. Seemed to conduct current okay, but he was having a problem with power connections to the strip of copper.
 

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The gentleman from Mesa Grande was Martin. I just sent him an email letting him know about the post here. I have some samples of the rail which I think would work really good for battery only users and will try to get some pictues as time allows.

Raymond
 

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Just to remind all of you positive thinkers and the naysayers as well, that the plastic rail I originally produced was for “static display use only” as an alternative to the high cost of brass. Why invest in brass for display purposes unless you are speculating on the futures market on brass? Now you know what drove the cost of gas up!

None the less I am flattered that many of you want to take the plastic rail beyond display use and actually RUN on it! For those enthusiasts I am hearing all your pros and cons and want you to know, I am listening and taking in consideration all that was said.

First of all, you should know this, my first production run of the plastic rail was primarily a test to learn its characteristics and appeal. The first run does not contain a UV additive since it wasn’t intended to use outside. However, a UV additive IS possible and available for the next run. The first run was a PVC material, the same type of polymer used in outdoor plumbing if that indicates any idea of outdoor longevity it could possibly have and longer with the UV.

But I am currently investigating yet another more durable material for outdoor use. If in fact anyone does actually indent to RUN ON IT. So, for those still wondering about the durability, wear and tear over the long run, these tests will still have to be made. So far I personally am using it in my yard and on sidings for storage for decorations.

During the HAGRS show, I did slip in a test section with a copper tape applied because we were running DC. Most of the time one of our members ran USA’s 25 pound Hudson pulling over 70 cars. A small acid test, don’t you think?! The copper tape did fail as I had expected, but lasted longer than anticipated. It took a day and a half of constant abuse. However the rail itself help up well over a continual 2 day use!

As for the combination and concern of plastic wheels on metal track vs metal wheels on plastic track or metal wheels on metal track, In every combination you are going to be faced with cleaning dirty track, REGARDLESS. Your problem with either be dirt, plastic dirt or oxidation. The only way to to avoid this is battery operation where a dirty or oxidized track doesn’t effect the direct battery power. We just can’t seem to escape, “track maintenance.”

For those who keep trying to match it against metal track, it’s NOT. And you still have your metal track available to purchase. Brass hasn’t been discontinued. But for those who don’t have the need for metal track, it may have an affordable niche. MSRP @$.80 per linear single rail foot.

If you have other questions, concerns, or additions. Please feel free to contact me or respond to this post.

Thanks guys!

Martino
 

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Martino,

Have you considered the market potential of those who run indoor layouts?

I hope you come up with a winning product.

For those who run DC, DCC, etc, how feasible is it to cast in a flat strip of copper wire in the top of the rail? Or sell an optional strip with an empty groove pre-molded and let the buyer install his own conducting surface?

Les
 

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Well, Yes.
I have thought of electrifying the plastic rail with a conductive material.
The rail is not "cast" but extruded.
No immediate plans but I am doing research on brass roll forming.
 

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It would seam to me that an extruded rail could be done with a small grove in the top of it so that one could either insert a pre made plastic insert or even cheaper rail such as HO flex track tail. This is relative inexpensive, would increase the weight resets for the trains (this would especially obvious when a train sits for time on a section of track in the heat), allow very easily adjustable curves, add an option for to the track as well as keep it usable for both Live Steam and Battery. My only concern with the Live Steam is do they produce heat that may be a factor (I have never tried Live Steam so please forgive my ignorance). If this track pans out I think it will be a huge boost to the hobby.
 

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I think the idea of inserting HO flex rail in the top of G plastic rail is revolutionary. It may limit the contact area and complicate cleaning a littel, but it would provide the DC continurity and save us all a fortune. I would have no problem with the track/ties all molded in one piece like the New Bright stuff. Certainly would lower the bar for entry in to the hoby.

Peter.
 

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I can hear the "battery mafia" drooling over the future prospect of plastic rail. Couldn't resist the urge!!!!!! It's the "Little Devil in me" LOL/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
 

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SURVEY Question?
Help me understand what you are willing to undergo or tolerate to achieve an economical yet durable track alternative.
Let me begin with NON conductive plastic rail for battery op.

If I supplied you just the plastic rail to insert into your own tie strips, would you purchase just the rail?
Or do I need to supply the tie strips as well?

Next survey,
LGB & PIKO make/made euro style ties,
ARISTO makes both EURO & AMERICAN.
AML I believe also make an AMERICAN style.

Would anybody be insterested in a "CONCRETE" style similiar to the CLASS I that both the UP and BNSF are using on western mainlines?
 
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